Turkey Hollow Is 2015’s Best New Holiday Movie

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s new Thanksgiving movie Turkey Hollow is this year’s best new holiday offering. This movie, originally crafted by Jerry Juhl and the late, great Jim Henson, is a must have for every single family not just this year but every year. It proves this centrally through its writing. This includes not just the story presented within the script but the script’s dialogue and even the feeling of the story presented throughout. That will all be discussed shortly. It is just one way in which Turkey Hollow proves itself to be such an impressive movie. Being that Turkey Hollow is a TV movie instead of a big screen feature, its transitions are just as important to note in its presentation as its writing. That will be discussed at more length later. Last but hardly least of note here is the work of the movie’s cast. From veteran actress Mary Steenburgen’s ecclectic Aunt Cly to rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges’ own comic portrayal as the story’s on-screen narrator, to that of Cly’s nephew Ron and his kids Annie and Tim, the cast’s work in front of the camera rounds out the movie’s most important elements. Even Sheriff Grover (Reese Alexander) offers his own share of laughs. That is not to ignore the work of the movie’s makeup and costume department either. Thanks to their work, Cly looks somewhat akin to famed singer Cher. And Linden Banks, who portrays the vile Eldridge Slump, looks every part the evil old money-grubbing persona. Whether for the work that was put in to bring each actor’s character to life, for the cast’s work, the editors (in regards to the movie’s transitions) or for those responsible for the movie’s script, all of the noted elements play their own important part to the whole of this movie. Altogether, they make Turkey Hollow the single-best new holiday movie of 2015 hands down.

Turkey Hollow is the single-best new holiday movie of 2015. This movie, which originally aired on Lifetime over the weekend, will be available Tuesday, November 24th in stores and online. For those that were not lucky enough to see the movie in its original broadcast this past Saturday, there is so much to like about it beginning with its writing. This includes not only the movie’s script but its dialogue and the very feel of the story presented within that script. Jim Henson and Jerry Juhl’s script is so important to the movie’s overall writing thanks in large part to its simplicity. It sees a divorced father–Ron Emmerson (Jay Harrington–American Reunion, Better Off Ted, Benched) bringing his kids Annie (Genevieve Buechner–The Final Cut, Caprica, Jennifer’s Body) and Tim (Graham Verchere–A Girl’s Best Friend, Perfect Match, Impastor) to visit Ron’s ecclectic aunt–Cly (Mary Steenburgen–Back To The Future Part III, The Proposal, Step Brothers) after a family shakeup–a divorce. Anyone that saw the movie will get that joke. While there, Tim ends up getting into trouble and bringing to a head a years-long fued between Cly and her vile farmer neighbor Eldridge Slump (Linden Banks–Deep Rising, Antitrust, Wind Chill). Thanks to Tim’s curiosity, Slump is able to threaten Cly, telling her that he can take her farm. It is a variation of a classic story. But it is still original in that it isn’t just the standard old school story of a person/family trying to hold onto a farm. The story’s execution is what makes it so wonderfully enjoyable. There are some friendly little magical forest animals who lend a hand along the way and who also reveal to Tim and Annie the truth behind Turkey Hollow’s legendary Howling Hoodoo. Yes, that is really what it is called. And it is such a silly name that one can’t help but smile every time that one says its name. The occasional cutaways to narrator Chris “Ludacris” Bridges offers even more enjoyment to the script. It shows that neither Juhl nor Henson (may he rest in peace) took themselves seriously in crafting this script. Rather they had so much fun in creating it. In turn , audiences will have just as much fun in watching it. It is all just one part of what makes the writing behind Turkey Hollow such a strong point of the movie.

The script that lies at the center of Turkey Hollow’s writing is clearly among the most important aspects of the movie’s enjoyment. It is just one element of the writing that makes the writing (and the movie in whole) so enjoyable, too. The dialogue incorporated into the movie is just as important to the movie’s whole as the movie’s story. Being a Jim Henson story, there is not a single foul word to be heard anywhere in the movie. That being the case, one can only wonder why it received a TV-PG rating. Audiences will love hearing Annie complain, like the typical teenager that she is, about not having internet access while at Turkey Hollow or even television. Her complaints are even accompanied by the use of the term “hashtag.” On the opposite side, there is Tim and his wide-eyed optimism and interest in everything. Audiences will love the pair’s back and forth when they meet Squonk, Zorp, Burble, and Thring. And yes, those are in fact the names of the monsters. Again, much as with a Dr. Seuss story, the names are so silly that they will put just as much of a smile on audiences’ faces. Audiences will love hearing Annie ask Tim incredulously about his ability to suddenly speak the language of their new furry friends. His reaction to her questioning is just as classic. It won’t be given away. But it will have audiences laughing just as much as her question. There is also the dialogue between Cly and Sheriff Grover to note in regards to the dialogue. Sheriff Grover trying to hide his feelings for Cly are great. that’s just because he gets so tongue-tied as he tries to maintain his professionalism around her. And of course what great family movie would be complete without the hilarious lines from the evil villain’s bumbling henchmen? There are plenty of laughs from their lines as from any of the movie’s other dialogue. There are so many other examples that could be cited to show just how important the dialogue is to the movie’s writing. Of course there is nowhere near enough time to discuss every one of the movie’s lines. That being the case it can be said that the examples noted here show in their own way just how entertaining the script’s dialogue proves to be just as important to Turkey Hollow’s overall writing as the movie’s script and its presentation to the presentation of the movie in whole.

The script and dialogue presented throughout Turkey Hollow are both equally important to the whole of the movie’s writing as already noted in-depth. For all of the importance of said elements, the story’s look plays just as important of a role in the writing. Audiences will note in watching this movie a presentation that wasn’t written to look or even feel like so many other big screen holiday features or movies in general. It looks and feels just like Henson’s classic creature features (of sorts). From the backdrops to the shooting style, to the very fact that it used actual hand-made puppets instead of CG creatures, everything about the look and feel of this movie makes it one that every audience should see. It proves convincingly that there is still just as much of a place in the movie making business as there is for CG if not more so. It shows that a movie doesn’t need CG and other special effect or even big sets and other cosmetic elements in order to be enjoyable. It rounds out the ways in which the movie’s writing shows itself to be so important to its overall presentation. All three elements together show clearly why Turkey Hollow’s writing is so important to the movie’s presentation in whole. Of course even considering all three elements, there is even more that could be considered such as the themes of parenting’s trials and triumphs, family dynamics, and even possible hidden messages about nature versus business and so much more. There is nowhere near enough time to delve into all of that. So we will rest it all in saying that considering those additional topics and those more directly noted here, the writing that went into Turkey Hollow proves without a shadow of a doubt to be rock solid. it makes a solid foundation on which the rest of the movie’s elements rest comfortably.

Turkey Hollow’s writing is a hugely important piece of the movie’s overall presentation. Just watching this standout family friendly holiday movie, this is obvious. Even as important as the movie’s writing proves to be to the whole of the story’s presentation, the story’s transitions should not be ignored, either in their importance. It is a minor element to consider on the surface. But in the grand scheme of things it proves truly important to note. That is because the movie is a TV movie rather than a big screen feature. Audiences that were lucky enough to see the movie in its Lifetime premiere this past weekend will note that there were obviously commercial breaks which ended up making the movie a full two-hour presentation. Without those breaks, that run time is cut down by half an hour. So why is this important to note? It is important to note because the movie is presented in exactly the same fashion in its DVD presentation as it was on television. The breaks (the story’s transition points) in the DVD’s presentation are set in exactly the same spots as they were in the movie’s television presentation. What this means is that audiences get the piece of mind knowing that they got in the movie’s TV premiere the full, unabridged version of the movie. And they get the same presentation on DVD. Nothing has been changed in the transfer from Lifetime to DVD. That makes for even more enjoyment for audiences with each watch. It still is not the last of the movie’s key notable elements. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as the movie’s writing and its transitions to the movie’s overall presentation.

The writing behind Turkey Hollow and its transitions in regards to its TV broadcast versus its DVD presentation collectively make for plenty of enjoyment among audiences of all ages. For all of the enjoyment that each element generates, they are not the only ways in which this movie proves itself to be such a great holiday movie. The work of the cast in terms of each member’s portrayal is just as important to the whole of Turkey Hollow’s presentation as the movie’s writing and its transitions. Veteran actress Mary Steenburgen leads the cast as the eccentric Aunt Cly. She is great in her handling of Cly’s modern-day hippie persona. At no point does Steenburgen ever try to ham it up in her role. She [Cly] is so reserved in her character. Yet there is still a certain fire inside her that alongside that reserved nature makes her so entertaining to watch. And that is thanks to Steenburgen’s professional take on the character. Genevieve Buechner and Graham Verchere are just as entertaining as Annie and Tim. The pair really comes across as a brother and sister. That speaks volumes in regards to . the duo’s on-screen chemistry. On a related note, rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges is just as enjoyable as the movie’s narrator. While he may not be on screen nearly as much as his cast mates he is still wholly entertaining in his role. It’s tough to put fully into words what makes his portrayal so entertaining. But it can be said that the attitude that he portrays in the studio and on stage plays a part in that entertainment. He uses that same attitude but in a different fashion. The end result is a character that has some edge but is still a great standard narrator at the same time. Linden Banks and his henchmen are just as entertaining on the other side of the story. They are classic villains that audiences will love to root against and at whom they will love to laugh just as much in their bumbling. Together with the work of Steenburgen and the others, the work of Turkey Hollow’s cast in whole makes the movie’s presentation even more fun for the whole family. Together with the movie’s writing and its transitions, Turkey Hollow proves in the end to be a movie that every family should see this and every holiday season. As a matter of fact, all things considered, Turkey Hollow shows in the end to be this year’s best new holiday movie.

Turkey Hollow is a simple movie. But there is so much that went into bringing this movie to life. Its writing is extremely in-depth. Its scene transitions on DVD are the same as they were on television. This means that audiences get the same presentation on DVD as they did on television. The work of the movie’s cast rounds out the movie’s most important elements. The work of the movie’s cast will put a smile on every audience’s face. Of course one shouldn’t ignore the work of the movie’s makeup and costume department or those charged with handling the movie’s look and feel. Thanks to all involved, Steenburgen looks somewhat like famed singer Cher. And Linden Banks looks every part the evil, old businessman. Thanks to the work of those charged with handling the movie’s overall look and feel, the movie looks and feels just like Jim Henson’s classic “creature features.” It really looks just like his classic movies and specials thanks to the reliance on actual puppets and sets instead of CG and special effects. It makes suspension of disbelief all the easier and in turn the movie’s enjoyment greater. The end result of that enjoyment is the agreement that Turkey Hollow is, in whole, the best new holiday movie of 2015. Turkey Hollow will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, November 24th. It can be ordered online direct via Turkey Hollow’s official website at http://www.shopturkeyhollow.com. It can also be ordered online direct via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=Turkey%20Hollow and via Lifetime network’s online store at http://www.mylifetimestore.com/jim-henson-s-turkey-hollow-dvd/details/117624982. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lionsgate

More information on this and other titles from Lifetime is available online now at:

Website: http://www.mylifetime.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lifetime

Twitter: http://twitter.com/lifetimetv

More information on this and other titles from The Jim Henson Company is available online now at:

Website: http://www.henson.com

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2015 World Series Presentations Set For Release Next Month

The 2015 MLB season is officially a wrap. But even as the season has come to its last inning Lionsgate, MLB Productions, and A&E Home Video have announced that it is giving fans some extra-innings enjoyment with the upcoming release of the 2015 World Series Film and 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition.

Courtesy:  MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

Courtesy: MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

Lionsgate, MLB Productions, and A&E Home Video have teamed up once again to cap off another season of Major League Baseball with another complete installment of World Series collections. The companies will release the 2015 World Series Film and 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition on Tuesday, December 1st. Both collections will be released on their own separate DVD and Blu-ray platforms. The 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition features the complete 2015 World Series spread across eight discs on both DVD and Blu-ray. It also includes the Sleevestats(TM) ooklet with official game stats and trivia for each game. As an additional bonus the 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition also includes two key Royals post season games (the ALDS and ALCS clinchers) and key regular season highlights. The Blu-ray will retail for MSRP of $69.99 and DVD for $59.98. Audiences can pre-order the set on DVD for a discounted price of $44.98 via Lionsgate’s online store now at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=2015%20world%20Series.

 

Courtesy:  MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

Courtesy: MLB Productions/A&E Home Video/Lionsgate

The 2015 World Series Film is a shortened take on the annual Fall Classic. It is narrated this year by famed actor Paul Rudd (Ant-Man, Role Models, I Love You Man). Rudd takes audiences through the most pivotal moments of this year’s World Series in the DVD. There are also interviews, exclusive behind-the-scenes access footage, and more throughout the eighty-six minute presentation. As with the 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition, the 2015 World Series Film will be released both on DVD and Blu-ray. It will retail for MSRP of $34.99 on Blu-ray and $29.98 on Blu-ray an DVD respectively. It can be pre-ordered online now for a discounted price of $27.99 on Blu-ray and $19.98 on DVD via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=2015%20world%20Series. More information on both the 2015 World Series Film and 2015 World Series Collector’s Edition and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LionsgateNews

More information on the latest titles from MLB Productions is available online now at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mlbprod

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MLBProductions

More information on the latest titles from A&E Home Video is available online now at:

Website: http://www.aetv.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/aenetworks

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No Mystery Here: The Great Shape Mystery Is Another Great Letter Factory Adventure

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate studios has never been known as one of Hollywood’s “Power Five” studios. This aside it has still proven to be a powerhouse in its own right. It is the studio responsible for hit movie franchises such as The Hunger Games, The Expendables, and the new thriller Sicario. It is just as well known in the TV world thanks to hit series such as Manhattan, Orange is the New Black, and Mad Men. It has even delved into the world of educational content with its Leap Frog titles. Lionsgate has released a number of titles from Leap Frog in recent years thanks to its partnership with the organization. Those titles include a handful of titles in Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures series. The latest of those titles, The Great Shape Mystery, was released late this summer. And it is yet another enjoyable addition to any early childhood educator’s personal DVD library just as much as it is to the personal collection of any family with a young child or children. The central reason for its enjoyment lies in its story. This time out Leap and company have to set out on a quest a la Indiana Jones in order to figure out the secret of a mystery machine (no, not that mystery machine) that has been delivered to the Letter Factory. The team’s adventure takes it underground through a number of interesting situations requiring some problem solving skills and all the way back to the Letter Factory in the end. And it all happens in the span of about thirty-seven minutes, which is really not that bad. It is just one way in which this latest installment from Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures series proves itself to be so enjoyable. Another way in which it proves itself so enjoyable is its lessons. Despite being part of the Letter Factory Adventures series, this installment branches out into the world of basic math just as with the previously released installment Counting on Lemonade. Even more interesting is that it expertly balances not one or even two lessons but three over the course of that near forty-minute run time. That will be discussed at more length later. Along with its multiple lessons and engaging story, The Great Shape Mystery also boasts another handful of bonuses for kids and grownups alike. Those bonuses include a few sing-a-longs for younger viewers that help to drive home the lessons presented throughout the gang’s adventure and extra curriculum discussions to help parents and educators drive home those lessons, too. Collectively, the bonuses round out the presentation that it The Great Shape Mystery. Together with the featured story and lessons, the DVD in whole proves to be one more great addition to Leap Frog and Lionsgate’s Letter Factory Adventure series.

Letter Factory Adventures: The Great Shape Mystery is another great addition to Leap Frog and Lionsgate’s popular Letter Factory Adventures series of DVDs. The main way in which it proves itself so enjoyable is its story. The story follows Leap and the rest of the Letter Factory gang as they set out to solve the mystery of a new machine that has been delivered to the letter factory. The adventure takes the gang underground and through a number of interesting situations that require some problem solving skills. Just as with previous Letter Factory Adventures DVDs the story presented here is family friendly. And it has been scripted in such fashion that not once does it ever go over the heads of its target pre-school-age audiences. In other words, the story and its incorporated lessons are written at the target audiences’ level, thus keeping those viewers engaged. Just as important to note of the story is its run time and associated pacing. The presentation in whole runs roughly thirty-seven minutes. Thirty-seven minutes may seem like a lot even for a pre-schooler. But the pacing of the story over that time is such that those audiences will in fact remain engaged. The pacing together with the run time and story itself combine to make this central element of the presentation a key way in which The Great Shape Mystery shows itself to be yet another enjoyable installment of the Letter Factory Adventures series. It is just one of the ways in which this DVD shows itself to be so enjoyable, too. The lessons that are featured within the story are collectively another way in which it shows itself to be so impressive.

The story at the center of The Great Shape Mystery, its run time and associated pacing are hugely important elements to note in examining what makes this presentation so enjoyable. And as important as they are to the whole of the DVD’s overall presentation they are only part of the presentation’s whole. The lessons that are incorporated into the story are just as important as the story and its associated elements. The story features a total of three lessons over the course of its nearly forty-minute run time. The lessons are each centered on basic math skills. They center on basic geometry, measurements, and fractions. It’s not the first time that one of Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures DVDs has featured basic math lessons. But the fact that the series is titled Letter Factory Adventures yet features basic math lessons shows the thought put into the DVD. It shows once more that those behind the series understand the need for the series to branch out in order to be successful. What’s more, the lessons are presented such that they are easy for those target viewers to understand. Leap and his friends don’t use big words, formulas or any related matters in teaching the lessons. They are presented with terms that those young viewers will understand and in turn connect with easier. Even more noteworthy of the lessons is the manner in which they are delivered throughout the course of the program. The lessons are actually made part of the story instead of being the center of focus. They are also very well-balanced from beginning to end. No one lesson gets more time than the others. This ensures even more that young viewers will not only remain engaged but will also easily grasp the presented concepts and retain them, too. It is yet another way in which this DVD shows itself to be an important and enjoyable addition to the Letter Factory Adventures DVD series.

The story at the center of The Great Shape Mystery, its associated elements, and the lessons tied into the story are each vitally important to the presentation’s overall viewing experience. While both elements are equally important to the whole of the program, they are not all that deem noting in considering the DVD’s overall presentation. The bonus material included alongside the main feature rounds out the DVD’s presentation. Just as with previous installments of Lionsgate and Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures, this one has also come complete with a handful of bonus sing-a-longs for kids and curriculum material for parents and teachers. The sing-a-longs are not just sing-a-longs, either. They are songs lifted directly from the main feature. Each one serves to drive home even more the lessons presented throughout the course of the main feature. And being that the program is aimed largely at pre-K-aged children, said viewers likely won’t even realize that they are being educated while also being entertained at the same time. This is nothing new to the Letter Factory Adventures DVDs and is just as welcome here as in those aforementioned DVDs. The case is similar with the bonus curriculum material included for parents and educators. Instead of forcing both parties to sit through the entire presentation a second time, only the first few minutes of the program are used in order to establish the key lessons and lesson ideas. In other words, the bonus curriculum material is presented in a quick yet clear and concise fashion. It’s exactly the same as with each previous Letter Factory Adventures DVD. So regardless of whether they are used in a home setting or in the classroom, the bonus curriculum materials and sing-a-longs both prove quite useful in the end. Those bonuses set alongside the DVD’s story, its associated elements, and its lessons leave no mystery about The Great Shape Mystery. It is yet another great DVD for any Pre-K educator and for any family with young children. They collectively make The Great Shape Mystery yet another great addition to Lionsgate and Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures series.

Lionsgate and Leap Frog’s latest addition to their Letter Factory Adventures series The Great Shape Mystery is a great addition to any Pre-K classroom and home setting. Its story, with its relatively short run time and equally solid pacing makes for plenty of reason for the series’ fans to add this DVD to their collections whether for a home or classroom setting. The lessons that are tied into the story make for even more enjoyment and interest to the DVD in whole. That is because the lessons show yet again the companies’ willingness to take a risk and branch out past just teaching about letters and vocabulary in these DVDs. That bravery paid off in spades in this case just as much as in a previous case such as Counting on Lemonade. The bonus material included in the DVD rounds out its overall presentation, making it complete. Young viewers won’t realize in the bonus sing-a-longs that they are actually being educated at the same time that they are being entertained thanks once again to the approach taken by the story’s writers. The bonus curriculum material included alongside the sing-a-longs is a boon both for parents and teachers alike. That is because it offers both parties plenty of extra insight into the program and ideas for lesson plans of their own. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of The Great Shape Mystery. Together, they make this latest installment in Lionsgate and Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventure series yet another great addition to that series and leaves no mystery as to why, either. Letter Factory Adventures: The Great Shape Mystery is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online now direct via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=32330&TitleParentId=10244. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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Lionsgate Takes Viewers On A Magical Trip To Turkey Hollow This Fall

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

This fall, Lionsgate will release a special, family friendly movie from none other than the late, great Jim Henson.

Lionsgate will release Turkey Hollow on Tuesday, November 24th. The movie is based on a story originally conceived by Henson before his untimely passing in May of 1990 and writing partner Jerry Juhl. The story stars Jay Harrington (Benched, American Reunion, Hot in Cleveland) as recently divorced father of two Ron Emmerson. Ron and his children Tim (Graham Verchere–A Girl’s Best Friend, Perfect Match, Impastor) and Annie (Genevieve Buechner–The Final Cut, Caprica, Jennifer’s Body) take a road trip on Thanksgiving to see the the kids’ eccentric aunt Cly (Mary Steenburgen–Back To The Future Part III, The Proposal, Step Brothers). Cly lives in the rustic town of Turkey Hollow. While there, Tim and Annie learn about a legendary creature called the “Howling Hoodoo” and set off to find the elusive creature. While Tim and Annie hunt for the “Howling Hoodoo” another issue arises as one of Cly’s neighbors frames Cly for turkey theft, threatening to ruin the holiday for everybody. However, when Tim and Annie team up with some surprising friends, things take a turn for the better. Rapper Ludacris serves as the story’s narrator.  The movie will air November on Lifetime Saturday, November 21st at 8pm ET  ahead of the movie’s release in stores and online November 24th.  Pricing information will be announced at a later date.

Lisa Henson, Halle Stanford (Jim Henson Company Executive VP of Children’s Entertainment) and Michael Taylor of Multiple Media Entertainment served as the movie’s co-Executive Producers. Christopher Baldi and Tim Burns wrote the script for Turkey Hollow, which was based on a story originally penned by Jim Henson, Jerry Juhl, and Kirk Thatcher. Thatcher (It’s A Very Merry Muppet Christmas, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppets Wizard of Oz) directed. The puppets used in the movie’s filming were developed at the Burbank, CA location of Jim Henson’s famed Creature Shop. More information on this and other TV titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LionsgateTV

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” It. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Lionsgate, Saban’s New Power Rangers DVD Is A Great Treat For Any Power Rangers Fan

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Saban/Saban Brands

Earlier this week, Lionsgate and Saban Brands released the latest collection of Halloween-themed episodes from Saban’s long-running Power Rangers franchise.  The new collection—Trickster Treat­—features four more Halloween-themed episodes from different eras of the hugely popular property.  What sets the episodes featured here is that they are a slightly more representative portion of the Power Rangers legacy.  That will be discussed shortly.  On a related note the writing within each of the featured episodes stands out in examining the whole of this compilation.  It is yet another reason that Power Rangers fans will appreciate this (apparent) second ever Halloween-themed Power Rangers collection.  Last of note in this collection is the work of the cast within each episode.  Even as many years have passed since Saban first introduced the Power Rangers to America, the work of each “season’s” cast has remained just as impressive from one season to the next.  That is just as evident in these four episodes as any of the franchise’s others.  Together with the work of the series’ writers and those charged with choosing the collection’s episodes, it rounds out the reasons that fans will enjoy this DVD and leaves fans hopeful that there will be more Power Rangers Halloween DVDs to come.

Trickster Treat, the new Halloween-themed collection of Power Rangers episodes from Lionsgate and Saban Brands is not the first of its kind from the two companies.  Nor is it the first collection of holiday-themed Power Rangers collections from the long-running superhero series.  However, it would appear that the new collection, which was released earlier this week, is only the second Halloween-themed collection to be released to date from the worldwide phenomenon franchise.  If that is indeed true, then it is a shock within itself.  That is because of the sheer number of episodes that could have been used over the years for other collections.  That aside, Trickster Treat still proves in the long run to be a good addition to any Power Rangers fan’s collection.  Its selection of episodes is the main reason for that.  Being that there is apparently only one other Halloween-themed Power Rangers collection available to fans—Power Rangers Samurai: Monster Bash–this collection’s selection of episodes is an improvement from that collection.  Whereas Power Rangers Samurai: Monster Bash featured three episodes and a bonus PSA, Trickster Treat features a fourth episode but no extras.  That lack of extras is not a setback for the DVD either.  On a deeper level, the episodes featured in this collection offer a little wider representation from the Power Rangers two decade-plus run than those included in Monster Bash.  The episodes in that set include one episode from Power Rangers Samurai and two from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.  By comparison Trickster Treat features one episode from the second season of MMPR, one from Power Rangers Zeo, one from Power Rangers Super Samurai and one from Power Rangers Megaforce.  It serves to show at least a small cross section of the Power Rangers’ history.  That is a lot more than fans got from Monster Bash.  And considering that Trickster Treat is allegedly only the second ever Power Rangers Halloween collection, this gives quite a bit of hope among fans for even more collections in the years to come with just as much representation if not more from the Power Rangers multitude of installments.

The selection of episodes offered to Power Rangers fans in Trickster Treat is by itself a solid reason for them to pick up this collection.  It is just one reason that fans will appreciate the DVD, too.  The writing within each of the episodes is another reason that fans will enjoy the DVD.  That is because there is such a notable difference in the writing style from one installment to the next.  The writing incorporated into “Zedd’s Monster Mash” (MMPR) and “It Came From Angel Grove” (Zeo) presents stories that are more kid (and family) friendly than those of “Raising Spirits” (Megaforce) and “Trickster Treat” (Super Samurai).  There is a lot more slapstick comedy and more relatable story elements in the episodes from those earlier installments than those from the later installments for lack of better wording.  For instance, “It Came From Angel Grove” utilized the commonly used dream sequence story element for its base.  From there, it proceeds to pay homage to the classic black and white horror movies of Hollywood’s golden era.  And it does so in a way that will entertain audiences of all ages.  “Zedd’s Monster Mash” on the other hand actually sends Tommy (in his White Ranger days) into a spirit world of sorts to battle a couple of previously perished bad guys by himself.  On a totally separate note, “Raising Spirits” (Megaforce) is a clip show at its roots.  Given the whole episode is not a clip show.  And that is actually a good thing considering that it would have been so easy for Megaforce’s writers to take that lazier road.  It shows that the writers in question didn’t want to do that but rather incorporate the element in question into the whole of what is overall an original episode.  “Trickster Treat” is its own original piece.  It could be argued that this episode pays homage to Wes Craven’s original Nightmare on Elm Street as the episode’s main villain gets into the Rangers’ dreams and causes them plenty of trouble.  Now how it managed to do so isn’t exactly explained away.  But that can be excused considering the episode’s execution.  Now in examining each of the presented stories, viewers will see the clear difference in each episode’s writing style.  The episodes presented in the latter series are less lighthearted overall than those of the Power Rangers’ earlier days.  Is that a bad thing?  No.  Not at all.  It is just interesting to note.  It is a welcome juxtaposition of writing styles as a matter of fact.  And with any luck fans will see even more of that variety in future Halloween-themed Power Rangers DVDs, going back to that core reason for the DVD’s enjoyment among fans.  Both reasons together make a solid argument in favor of adding this DVD to fans’ home collections.  And even together they are only part of what makes the DVD worth fans’ purchase.  The work of each installment’s cast rounds out the presentation’s positives

Both the episodes selected for Trickster Treat’s body and the writing of each episode therein are of equal importance to the whole of this new DVD.  The work of the episodes’ cast members rounds out the reasons that the collection proves to be a welcome addition for any Power Rangers fan.  While the franchise’s writing style has changed over the course of its two decade-plus run, one thing that has changed far less is the ability of its cast within each installment.  Jason David Frank is hilarious as a vampire in “It Came From Angel Grove.”  Watching him, it’s obvious that he had great fun going back to Hollywood’s golden era.  The same can be said of fellow cast mate Johnny Yong Bosch, who was the star of the episode.  The duo’s acting is so carefree throughout.  It is as if the episode’s director just gave them (and the rest of the cast) a certain free reign as they went through the episode.  By comparison, the cast of Super Samurai is just as entertaining as it weaves its way out of its dream-induced conflict.  Early on, there is a certain camp element as the Rangers’ outfits are decked out in Halloween costumes and the Rangers have to act out of sorts from the norm since they are in a dream. It could even be argued that there’s a hint of classic Japanese cinema in the cast’s acting here. And of course who could forget Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy (a.k.a. Bulk and Skull) in “Zedd’s Monster Mash.” Schrier and Narvy’s physical comedy and timing is impeccable. The duo’s Laurel and Hardy style comic acting played such a big role in the enjoyment of MMPR. That is just as evident here as Bulk accidentally eats a handful of red hots at one point and Skull breaks a handful of plastic knives trying to use them to carve a pumpkin. The pair’s reaction in each situation is timeless and will leave viewers of all ages laughing just as much today as in the episode’s original broadcast. It’s just one more example of why the work of each cast is just as important to the whole of Trickster Treat as the featured episodes and their writing. All three elements combined make Power Rangers: Trickster Treat another enjoyable new Halloween-themed compilation for fans. They collectively make the DVD so enjoyable that it will leave fans hopeful that there will be many more collections to come presenting even more incarnations of the power Rangers.

Power Rangers: Trickster Treat is only the second new Halloween-themed collection of Power Rangers episodes to be released in the franchise’s now two decade plus run on American television. Considering that, it has its share of positives. That is especially in comparison to the first collection released only a few years ago. The episodes present a good portion of the Power Rangers’ legacy even with just the set’s four episodes. The writing across all four episodes shows just how much has changed over the years but still done right. The work of each series’ cast is just as enjoyable to watch. All three elements together make this four-episode collection a good addition to any true Power Rangers fan’s collection and gives hope to those same fans for more releases in the future from the franchise’s other series. Power Rangers: Trickster Treat is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store now at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=32338&TitleParentId=10246. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LionsgateTV

 

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Lionsgate Announces Release Date, Specs For McKellan’s New Movie

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Sir Ian McKellan’s new movie Mr. Holmes will hit store shelves and digital outlets next month.

Officials with Lionsgate announced recently that Mr. Holmes will be released on Tuesday, October 27th. It will be released on DVD + Digital combo pack and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack. The movie, based on author Mitch Cullum’s novel A Slight Trick of the Mind, sees the world’s greatest detective coming out of retirement to solve the one single mystery that he could never solve. Fittingly the case in question was his final case. Having taken a trip to Japan, Holmes returns home and is forced to use his years of experience and expertise to solve the mystery. Mr. Holmes was awarded the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. Both the DVD and Blu-ray combo pack include a pair of bonus features. Those features are listed below.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • “Icon” Featurette
  • “Story” Featurette

Mr. Holmes will be released in stores and online on Tuesday, October 27th. The DVD + HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $19.98 and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack for $24.99. It will be available On Demand November 10th. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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Stiller’s Latest Indie Outing Is One Of This Year’s Best New Independent Movies

While Were Young BD Box ArtBen Stiller is one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood’s modern history. Having starred in countless movies and TV series, and worked behind the lens in just as many projects with plenty more in the works. One of those countless projects, While We’re Young was released direct to DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack earlier this summer. The movie, which also co-stars Naomi Watts (King Kong, Mullholland Drive, The Ring), Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables, Mama Mia, Dear John) and Adam Driver (Inside Llewyn Davis, This is Where I Leave You, What If), is not Stiller’s first jaunt into the indie movie world. In 2010, Stiller starred in the largely forgettable indie flick Greenberg. That movie was forgettable for good reason. While We’re Young however, proves to be more worth viewers’ time than Greenberg. It should be noted that while it is more worth viewers’ time than the prior movie, it is still very much an acquired taste. Though, that is the case with most Noah Baumbach movies. Now having noted that, While We’re Young is an interesting new entry for Stiller and the people at Lionsgate that is worth at least one watch. The main reason for that is its script, crafted by Baumbach. The script follows a couple played by Stiller and Watts that upon meeting a young twenty-something couple begins ruminating on years lost and in turn starts trying to reclaim and relive those years. Yes it’s an oft-used story element. But Baumbach takes an approach in his script that gives the story a new identity in the case of this movie. The additional commentary on the connection between technology and culture that is intertwined into the script is another reason that viewers will enjoy this movie. It is neither preachy nor unnecessarily comic. The bonus material included with the movie rounds out the reasons that While We’re Young proves worth the watch. It is made up mostly of interviews with Baumbach and the movie’s cast. It is one of those rare cases in which the standard bonus addition actually proves to actually be a bonus. And together with the aforementioned elements, all three show together why While We’re Young is one of the best of this year’s new independent movies.

While We’re Young is one of this year’s best new independent movies. It is a movie that stands out both among the endless sea of prequels, sequels, and remakes filling theaters and its fellow independent counterparts alike. It shows this mainly through its script. The script, crafted by writer/director Noah Baumbach, centers on a married couple played by veteran actor and actress Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) are married and both in their forties. After a chance meeting with the much younger Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried), Josh and Cornelia start ruminating on lost years and lost chances. The resultant effect leads to plenty of laughs and even some moments of deep introspection. It is that balance of humor and contemplation that sets Baumbach’s script apart from every one of the previous instances in which this oft used plot has appeared. Rather than being the typical shmaltzy, slapstick story about people trying to reclaim their youth (E.g. Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2), it offers a solid balance of both humor and depth that few if any other stories of its kind present. That mix of humor and depth is exhibited especially through the blatant cultural differences (of sorts) between the two couples. There’s a lot of truth to the behaviors presented by both pairs. There’s also just enough humor shared between the couples to keep viewers entertained and engaged from beginning to end thus showing again exactly why Baumbach’s script in itself makes While We’re Young worth at least one watch.

The central story presented in Baumbach’s script presents a strong reason why the movie’s script in whole makes this movie worth at least once watch. It is just one reason that this surprisingly interesting independent movie is worth at least that one watch. Along with its central story, there is also an intended commentary on the connection between technology and culture tied into the central story that will have viewers laughing and thinking just as much as the movie’s main story. The commentary regarding the acceptance of technology’s overly intrusive nature (I.E. cell phones being used for everything all the time) is just once example of how the commentary tied into the story helps to make the story all the more enjoyable. There is also a commentary centered on one generation trying to keep up with technology while the other (today’s younger generation) is bringing back everything that was once cool years ago and calling it cool by their own self-serving judgement. It really serves as another example of art clearly imitating real life thus showing yet again why the commentaries included in the movie’s script make the movie all the more entertaining for its target audiences. They are just a couple of the commentaries that are tied in to the script, too. Audiences will see for themselves that there are even more commentaries when they see the movie for themselves. Once again, here is reason that While We’re Young stands out both among the year’s new releases overall and the year’s new independent releases.

Both the central story presented in Baumbach’s script for While We’re Young and the commentaries that accompany the movie’s main story present plenty of reason for viewers to watch this movie at least once. Both elements are of equal importance to the movie’s success and enjoyment. However, they are only a portion of what makes the movie worth the watch. The bonus material included with the movie make its overall presentation all the more worth the watch. The bonus material in question here is largely composed of interviews with Baumbach as well as the movie’s cast. This is a pretty standard bonus included in most movies’ home releases. The difference between these interviews and those included in so many other movies is that the interviews included with this movie actually present a certain value believe it or not. Baumbach and company actually offer some valuable insight into the movie, its script, commentaries and more. It’s quite the change of pace from those other, lesser interviews that try to pass themselves off as “bonuses” with other movies. In the case of this movie, they are in fact bonuses; bonuses that every viewer will find quite insightful. The insight offered by the bonus interviews along with the script’s main story and its companion commentaries make While We’re Young a movie that in whole while not for everyone is still one of the best of this year’s new independent film field and a movie worth at least one watch.

While We’re Young may not have gotten the coverage from media outlets as the major motion pictures released this summer by Hollywood’s “Power Five Studios.” But in comparison to those largely unoriginal, uncreative, prequels, sequels, and remakes, it holds its own quite well. It even holds its own quite well among its fellow independent counterparts. That is thanks to the movie’s script, which includes a new take on a classic story line and some equally entertaining yet in-depth commentaries that will have viewers talking and laughing long after the movie ends. The bonus interviews included with the movie make the overall viewing experience of this movie even richer for fans. All three elements combined, they prove While We’re Young to be one of this year’s best new independent movies and potentially even one of the year’s best overall new movies. It is available now in stores on DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack.

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